Authorities confirm body is that of Northampton native William Costello

  • A missing poster that the South Padre Island Police Department in Texas has put out for Northampton native William Costello, who went missing on Aug. 1 from his condominium complex in the resort town.

Staff Writer
Published: 8/24/2018 8:21:11 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Authorities in Texas have confirmed that a dead body found in the town of Santa Monica is that of a Northampton native and retired Massachusetts priest.

William “Bill” Costello, 71, went missing on Aug. 1 from his condominium complex in the resort town of South Padre Island. On Friday, the Texas Rangers confirmed that a body buried near a cemetery in Santa Monica was Costello’s.

An arrest has been made in the case. On Friday, Juan Carlos Baez Escobedo, 27, was arraigned in the city of Raymondville on a murder charge. Judge Juan Salinas ordered Baez Escobedo held on $2 million bond at the Willacy County Jail for murder.

“Texas Rangers continue to investigate the case and no further information is being released at this time,” Lt. Johnny Hernandez, a spokesman for the Texas Rangers, said in an emailed statement.

Attempts to reach family members of Costello’s were unsuccessful this week.

Earlier this week, the Fall River Diocese, where the Northampton native was ordained in 1974, expressed sadness at the news of his death. He first served as a parochial vicar at St. Pius X Parish in South Yarmouth from 1974 to 1978, moving around the state before ending up as the pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Seekonk in 2011. In 2012, he retired, and eventually moved to Texas.

Dusty Christensen can be reached at


Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, your leading source for news in the Pioneer Valley.

Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061


Copyright © 2021 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy